We know that the internet is a great tool for children to learn, play and share knowledge, but it is also a place where false information can be easily spread.
This week (Tuesday 9th) we marked Safer Internet Day, and this year’s theme is exploring the reliability of news in the online world.
With everything going on in the world at the moment, we’ve seen an increase in the spread of fake news, so there’s never been a better time to speak to your children about this issue.
Fake news can often be hard to spot, and the aim of it is to make the reader believe something that isn’t true, or is a biased opinion.
Children may come across fake news without even realising it, for example, viral messages containing false information spread on apps such as WhatsApp.
Meme accounts, which host funny pictures or videos, have also become a popular way of quickly spreading unverified facts on apps like Instagram, and it can be hard for all of us to determine if the information on these sites are jokes or true fact.
It can be difficult for both adults and children to know whether something they’ve seen online is true, so it’s important to encourage your family to talk and ask questions about what you see.
When your child sees something online, tell them to think twice before sharing or commenting on it.
Encourage them to check if it has come from a reliable source, and to speak to you or someone they trust, such as a teacher, if they think there’s a chance it could be fake.
Newsround, on CBBC and online, is a great, child-friendly resource for young people to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world.
If your child shares something online that’s not true by accident, they may feel embarrassed or upset. If this happens, explain to them that it’s okay and it can happen to anyone, and remind them that fake news can be made to look real and it’s not their fault.
Make sure they know how to delete posts on their favourite apps and tell them to come to you if they’re ever unsure about anything in the future.
There’s also the chance that they will see things online that worry or upset them, even if it is not fake news.
Let them know that you’re there to support them, and they can also get support on our moderated message boards on the Childline website.
Here, they can speak to their peers about how they are feeling, start a discussion, or ask for advice.
Children and young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk and any adult worried about a child can phone 0808 800 5000 or email